Influencer marketing is no longer simply a trend but a viable digital marketing strategy — with 75% of marketers dedicating a budget to it in 2022.
The problem? There’s heavy competition in the space now. You can’t just pay someone with a large following to post for you and get impressive results. It has to be more strategic — or you might as well set your influencer marketing budget on fire.
What’s worse is most brands that run their campaigns in-house are still struggling with getting influencer marketing right. According to the latest Influencer Marketing Benchmark report:
- 31% report having experienced influencer fraud
- 28.1% struggle with measuring ROI for their campaigns
- 27.4% say they have difficulty finding the right influencers
The solution? Hiring top influencer marketing agencies to do the job for you.
But why hire an agency when you can try and do the job yourself? How can you ensure the agencies deliver your campaign strategy?
This article will cover everything you need to know about influencer marketing agencies:
- What is an influencer marketing agency?
- What does an influencer marketing agency do?
- Why should brands work with an influencer marketing agency?
What Is an Influencer Marketing Agency?
An influencer marketing agency works with you and social media influencers to execute your influencer marketing strategy from start to end.
Think of them as the expert middleman between you and the influencer. If you’ve ever worked with a social media marketing agency or an SEO agency before, you know what the experience looks like. Except, in this case, the agency specializes in successful influencer marketing.
They customize your influencer marketing campaigns based on your brand’s goals and industry. A good agency has run thousands of campaigns and has topical expertise to personalize its services for your needs.
But influencer marketing agencies are not to be confused with influencer marketing platforms.
What’s the Difference Between an Influencer Marketing Agency & Influencer Marketing Platform?
Influencer marketing platforms are third-party tools that help you meet your different influencer marketing needs — like finding content creators, getting influencer analytics, and managing campaigns. You still have to run your campaigns in-house using these platforms.
For example, Tagger is an all-in-one influencer marketing platform that helps you discover influencers, get their followers’ demographic details, and manage partnerships with them.
But you still have to do all the legwork yourself. These tools can find influencers for you, but you have to determine whether these influencers can meet your KPIs and execute your content strategy. And if yes, you have to be the one who outreaches to them.
On the other hand, an influencer marketing agency handles everything — from sourcing relevant influencers to managing influencer content.
You save a significant amount of time by outsourcing to an influencer marketing agency. The best part? You work with experts who know what they’re doing. There are no shots in the dark and no gambling with your money.
What Does an Influencer Marketing Agency Do?
Okay, so now you know influencer marketing agencies are adept at handling everything related to influencer marketing. But what exactly do they do? What strategies do they deploy?
When influencers post about a brand’s products through their social media channels, they’re indulging in the form of a sponsored post. You can usually call out these by ‘paid partnership with [brand name]’ on Instagram.
But sponsored posts aren’t limited to Instagram influencers. All types of influencers — from bloggers to celebrities — do them.
- You can see TikTok influencers posting sponsored content with the hashtag #ad.
- YouTube influencers highlight and talk about their sponsors in their videos.
- Twitch influencers promote products on their live streams.
But it’s important to note sponsored posts rely on a pay-per-post model and build a transactional relationship with the influencer (something we’re firmly against at Kynship). A better alternative? Product seeding.
Product seeding is when you find relevant influencers for your brand and send them a sample of your product — no strings attached. The influencer isn’t obliged to post about the product or return the ‘favor’ in any other way.
In contrast to the pay-per-post model, product seeding bases the relationship on giving, not asking. And unlike influencer gifting, there’s no subtle expectation from the influencer to post a positive review about your brand.
For example, see how Klaviyo seeded relevant ecommerce influencers for their Less Stalking, More Talking campaign — which aimed to highlight how cookies and third-party data are a thing of the past. Since the email marketing platform had no physical product to “seed,” they got creative and sent their seeded influencers actual cookies.
Now, who wouldn’t love that?
At Kynship, product seeding is the foundation of everything we do. Why? Because we believe in forming long-term relationships with influencers rather than doing one-off transactions.
Our philosophy is you reap what you sow — product seeding is like laying many seeds, some of which will eventually grow into a strong, healthy plant.
How exactly does product seeding work at Kynship?
- We reach out to a minimum of 500 influencers every month for your brand. Half of these would be Instagram influencers, and the remaining would be TikTok influencers.
- A minimum of 100 influencers out of the 500 would opt-in to receive your product (20%). We onboard them into the Kynship seeding app and create a memorable unboxing experience using Arka. We also use MightyScout to watch when an influencer has posted about your brand and get all the analytics associated with those posts.
- A minimum of 30 influencers end up posting about your brand — free of cost. That’s 60-90 pieces of ad-ready influencer-generated content!
The question becomes: How can you find influencers to seed?
We use an influencer marketing platform, Tagger, to source perfect influencers for each brand that we work with. We predominantly filter influencers who have 5K-150K followers. Why?
We prefer micro-influencers over macro-influencers because smaller influencers have higher engagement rates and higher conversion metrics across all social media platforms. Their following is much more niche and connected to them than those of celebrities.
Not to mention micro-influencers charge minimum to no amount for usage rights of their content.
The clients that have worked with us have seen nothing but positive results from product seeding:
- Animalhouse Fitness scaled from $0 to a whopping $7M in one year
- M&M's DTC sales grew by 457% for their Father’s Day sales
- Seeded influencer-generated content cut Blendtopia’s cost per acquisition in half
Not so bad, huh?
Learn more: What is Influencer Seeding?
Paid ads often get a bad rep. But the best influencer agency knows how to maximize, scale, and get ROI from paid media using influencer posts. They have the know-how to lean into Facebook’s machine learning and make creative decisions.
For instance, at Kynship, we practice dynamic creative testing and let Facebook determine the top-performing assets. We constantly test, optimize, and scale these creative assets weekly — but with a cost bid strategy to avoid wasting any ad dollars.
The result? An ad for Blendtopia that doesn’t “look” like a top-performing asset achieved a CPA 42% lower than the brand's target CPA.
Not just this: Kynship helped beauty brand, Native, increase their ad performance by 69% and boost Metabolic Meal's prospecting ad account performance by a whopping 125% using the power of paid ads.
Brands often form a partnership with social media influencers to run contests. An influencer’s followers have to perform specific actions — like following the brand on social media, tagging a friend in the comments, signing up for an email newsletter — in exchange for getting the brand’s merchandise or products for free.
They are great for boosting brand awareness and garnering user engagement. According to a study by Tailwind, contests and giveaways on Instagram get 3.5X likes and 64X comments than regular posts.
An influencer marketing agency helps you coordinate these giveaways with the influencer — from content creation to execution.
An influencer would love to earn a direct commission for every sale they send your way. The best way to do that? Onboarding influencers to your affiliate program.
It’s better for you, too: When influencers have more skin in the game (via a cut of the sale), they create the kind of content which can drive more $$$ to your store.
An influencer agency can help you build an affiliate program with influencers. They’ll help you create a commission structure, build referral links, and track results.
At Kynship, we use Refersion to support our clients’ affiliate marketing program. It allows you to customize conversions, create personalized campaigns, and get quantifiable insights — all from a single tool.
Pura Vida Bracelets saw a 230% increase in revenue and 3X traffic on their website after a month of launching their affiliate program with Kynship.
If you want to partner with an influencer around a particular theme, influencer agencies will suggest opting for hashtag campaigns.
These campaigns help generate buzz around a certain event or cause. Influencers post about your theme with a hashtag and encourage their followers to participate. The result? Plenty of user-generated content for your brand.
Learn more: How To Get Quality User-Generated Content (UGC)
Why Should Brands Work With an Influencer Marketing Agency?
There are many benefits of partnering with an agency to execute your influencer marketing strategy.
- Network: An effective influencer gets tons of brand offers every day. The chances of them collaborating with you (or worse, even responding to you) are slim. An influencer agency has already built out a network of influencers you can tap into. You don’t even have to do the hard work of reaching out to the influencer, making and negotiating your offer, or tracking their return on investment.
- Expertise: Influencer marketing requires a ton of strategizing. You can’t simply throw money at big-name influencers and expect thousands of dollars in revenue. And the tighter your marketing budget, the less financial risk you can afford to take. Hiring agency experts increases the probability of your campaign’s success.
- Time: Running a single influencer marketing campaign requires vetting influencers, ensuring their audience aligns with your target audience, helping them understand business objectives, providing them with fair pricing, sharing creative briefs, managing communication, and tracking outcomes. Sounds exhausting, right? Outsourcing to an influencer marketing agency means eliminating all this work and having more room to focus on other aspects of your business.
Should You Hire an In-House Employee Instead of an Agency?
If you hire an in-house influencer marketing expert, they’ll be able to grow with the brand. It also means your brand will have a direct 1:1 relationship with the influencers. But hiring an in-house employee to execute your influencer marketing strategy is not the right choice for every brand. Here are some questions you should consider:
- Do you have the budget to hire an employee? An agency can be relatively cheaper than a full-time employee because you don’t have to pay for their laptops, insurance, company perks, etc.
- Do you have the bandwidth to get an employee up to speed? An influencer marketing agency specializes in the field. On the other hand, an employee requires onboarding, skills, etc., to catch up — especially if you hire an entry-level full-time employee.
- Can you hire a team of influencer marketing experts as you scale? Influencer marketing — especially at scale — isn’t a one-person job. As you keep partnering with more and more influencers, you’ll need more hands-on-deck to manage those relationships. A full-service influencer marketing agency can scale with you, but a full-time employee might need more help.
If you have the budget and the bandwidth and plan to take your influencer marketing efforts in-house, use learning resources like our Influencer Marketing Blueprint course that has helped brands generate $1M in eight months. It covers everything — from product seeding to outreaching to influencers to scaling your paid media funnels.
Hiring an Influencer Marketing Agency = Hiring Experts
Influencers are like the mutual friends of your customers. But it’s a lot of work to get influencer marketing right. And it’s not an area you can experiment with without worrying about the consequences — it involves dealing with real revenue and real people.
Outsourcing your influencer marketing to an agency, like Kynship, ensures you are in expert hands, get excellent results, and avoid unnecessary headaches.
Book a call with us today to determine if we’re a good fit for each other!